Northwest Airlines spends millions to make sure that the dreaded Y2K bug is just a blip : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Northwest Airlines spends millions to make sure that the dreaded Y2K bug is just a blip

Story at:

Apparently they've been at this since 1996. Heavily into it in 1998. Observations, anyone?


-- FM (, April 27, 1999


Great article. Here's the hot link: http://www.freep .com/news/airtravel/qnwa27.htm And some quotes:
Executives at Northwest Airlines didn't want to believe the Y2K computer bug could be anywhere near the calamity that their experts said it would.

But it was.

Baggage systems would stop delivering luggage. X-ray machines would stop checking bags for bombs. Time clocks would stop punching employees in and out. De-icing trucks would stop spraying planes.

Sometime on or before Dec. 31, 1999, the nation's fourth-largest airline would be grounded.

Then initial estimates for fixing the Y2K bug reached $25 million. "Our management was shocked," says Robert Dufek, Northwest's point man for the problem since 1991. During the last five years, that cost has roughly doubled to at least $45 million.


But for those who pooh-pooh the Y2K scare as end-of-millennium hysteria, a needless worry, Dufek shrugs and shakes his head.

"There were just thousands and thousands of bugs that had to be weeded out," Dufek explained in his sun-filled conference room near the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. "There is no question that every major application we have would have failed. Absolutely no question about it."

-- Michael Goodfellow (, April 27, 1999.

Does anyone have a sense how Northwest's effort compares to other airlines?

-- Brooks (, April 27, 1999.

I did notice one comment about their INVENTORY being finished some time in June!! Does that mean they don't even know where all the problems are, as yet?

And they started in 1991.

I wonder how well companies that started in 1995, 1996 or (gasp) 1998 are really doing.

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (, April 27, 1999.

It appears that the "inventory" term (as used by the reporter) is what we would call assessment + remediation + testing all in one bunch. Yes, it's important to note that they are not finished, but that they are working, are (more or less) okay per schedule, and are solving the problem.

Mark these guys (Northwest) as "company awareness = plus, on schedule = okay, contingency and venders = okay"


Flight schedules are already "being slowed" near December.

FAA involved locally in Detroit (their hub) - what does that indicate for other cities? FAA is locally, not nationally, driven?

Cockpit flight displays affected, but as we expected, not too seriously. My feeling = they did the right (although expensive) thing, eliminate "false" alarms in a critical control area. So what about everybody else who DOESN'T do this? What's critical, what a false alarm, what's a catastrophic (no display at all) failure? And what (if any) will fail?

Vender support terrible, but they recovered. With enough time to recover in, note.

Airport infrastructure failed - but these repairs are local only - Detroit might work now, but expect Atlanta to be shutdown - unless Delta gets the city to get things fixed......Washington DC too, Dulles? Other airports may be dependent on how good the city is doing repairs.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, April 27, 1999.

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